Premises needed in order to bring diversity to Exmouth shopping experience

PUBLISHED: 13:00 27 November 2019

Guest columnist and local author Emma Richardson.

Guest columnist and local author Emma Richardson.

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Guest columnist Emma Richardson meets two Exmouth-based artists hoping to bring a contemporary crafts pop-up event to Exmouth.

Exmouth has a growing artistic community and two Exmouth-based artists are leading the way locally in injecting some life into our struggling high streets.

Rosie Johnson and Jess Pearson first met each other at an art market Jess had organised at The Heavitree pub.

They discussed the success of online retail platform Etsy as a forum for artists and makers and the development of Etsy Made Local fairs elsewhere.

East Devon had plenty of traditional craft fairs at this time but nothing with a contemporary feel.

Surprised to learn there was no local Etsy group, the girls took the initiative to create one and chose Exeter for its central location.

Working hard to publicise the event led to last year's inaugural fair drawing 3,000 visitors over two days.

This year's fair, to be held in the old Mounts Bay Trading premises in Gandy Street, has been specially curated to focus on makers who embrace sustainability.

Fifty-five artists will be selling their work at the pop-up event which starts on Thursday, November 28, and runs over Saturday and Sunday.

I asked the girls about future plans for the venture - they both agreed they would love to bring something similar to Exmouth as a pop-up in an empty retail unit or as a stand-alone event.

The biggest barrier to this happening is the availability of short-term premises that aren't prohibitively expensive.

With a mix of homewares, art, jewellery, and clothing amongst other things, a Made Local event would certainly bring some diversity to the Exmouth shopping experience and much-needed extra footfall to the town.

Perhaps if you're reading this and you have suitable premises sitting empty you could consider giving the girls a call.

Meanwhile, I'm off to Etsy Made Local to do some Christmas shopping.


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